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Born in the Netherlands, Gary came to Canada with his parents in 1952, when he was four years old. He grew up on a dairy and fruit farm near St. Catharines, Ontario in the Niagara Peninsula region. His interest in farming led him to post-secondary studies in agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) at the University of Guelph. He has been involved in the farm building construction industry ever since graduating.
Gary is a charter member of the board of directors for the Canadian Farm Builders Association (CFBA), where he has just finished his fourth term as President. The CFBA has recognized him as Member of the Year for his volunteer work with the association. Gary has also served on many CFBA committees and, for several years, as a Board Member for the Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA).
In 1990, Gary decided to concentrate exclusively on the design and construction of horse facilities by establishing Dutch Masters Construction Services Ltd. This was a direct response to a client’s request for a project management service that encompassed all aspects of the design and construction of new horse facilities and farmstead infrastructure.
Gary has made presentations about the farm building industry at seminars, meetings and at trade conventions. He has also presented to students in college equestrian programs. Gary has written several media articles about topics concerning construction for the horse industry and has contributed to a book on horse management. He has also participated in continuing educational programs on ventilation, project supervision, health and safety, truss erection, quality assurance, concrete specifications, building codes, AutoCAD and surveying. Gary also created his own “Hankson” door design in response to the lack of quality door systems in the marketplace for use in horse barns in our cold climate.
Dutch Masters remains a family business after more than twenty-five years of serving the horse industry exclusively. Gary’s youngest son Greg, joined the family business in 2010. Meanwhile, both of Gary’s daughters are both busy with school: Trish is a graduate student at the University of Ottawa, and Deborah is a high school teacher in Barrie. Gary lives with his wife, Sharyn, in Caledon East.